New South Wales Eases Nomination Criteria for Skilled Worker Regional Visa (Subclass 491)

The New South Wales (NSW) government has updated the nomination criteria for the Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491) under Pathway 1, effective April 3, 2024.

There are two pathways to NSW nomination for this visa:

  • Pathway 1 – Applying directly to Investment NSW for those who have an established work history with a regional NSW-based employer.
  • Pathway 2 – Being invited to apply by Investment NSW.

Previously, applicants for Pathway 1 were required to have been living and working in a designated regional area of NSW for at least 12 months with a single regional NSW-based employer, among other requirements. Based on industry feedback, NSW government is now reducing this employment duration requirement to six months.

This change means that more skilled workers will be eligible to apply for the Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491) under Pathway 1, opening up opportunities for those who have been contributing to the regional economy and communities for six months.

The following Pathway 1 criteria remain unchanged:

  • Employment must be with a single regional NSW-based employer working from an established business premises in regional NSW.
  •  The role must be in the applicant’s nominated (or closely related) occupation.
  •  The occupation must be deemed skilled by NSW.
  •  Applicants must be paid a minimum of the TSMIT salary level of $70,000 (prorated if under 38 hours per week) from their qualifying employer in the nominated (or closely related) occupation in the 6 months immediately before applying.

Further criteria must be met for all NSW nominations (Pathway 1 or 2):

  • Applicants must meet all visa requirements outlined by Home Affairs for this visa.
  • Applicants must have a valid skills assessment in an occupation on the eligible skilled occupation list for this visa.
  • Applicants must be either currently residing:
    • in NSW and have continuously resided in NSW for a minimum period of three months; or
    • offshore and have continuously resided offshore for a minimum period of three months.

NSW government also provided the following important reminders:

  • Skilled employment must occur after NSW deems the applicant skilled in their occupation and must appear in their SkillSelect Expression of Interest (EOI).
  • Applicants must lodge their visa application onshore and must not have a current visa application being decided by Home Affairs for a permanent visa.
Erickson Insights and Analysis

Erickson Immigration Group will continue to monitor developments and share updates as more news is available. Please contact your employer or EIG attorney if you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions.